2. Is Mikel Arteta trying to be too clever?
Perhaps an unfair question, but it is a popular one after our unconvincing start.
Last season appealed to Arsenal fans both for its spectacular beginning and apparent simplicity as Arteta named largely the same XI every week and fielded his best players when available – an approach that quickly catapulted us into first place.
12 months on and weeks of laboured performances have coincided with bizarre selection choices that some believe are harming team cohesion, including surprise rests for Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel and persistent attempts to integrate an uninspiring Kai Havertz.
Although such tinkering has been linked to Arteta’s elusive search for perfection and a need to keep the opposition guessing, critics feel it is an unnecessary gambit the Spaniard has undertaken to vainly flaunt his expertise.
To his credit, Arteta is an established football manager operating at the highest level, and so to dismiss his practices as ‘clever’ could be viewed as reductionist or even an insult to his obvious, well-considered tactical acumen.
However, for one reason or another, the Gunners have not really clicked yet and the boss bears ultimate responsibility.
Continued on the next slide…